AF Security Forces and Army MPs work together to defend the mission

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry
  • 435 Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron Security Forces Flight and U.S. Army 411th Military Police Company, 89th MP Brigade, 1st Platoon Military Police work together to protect Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger.

The U.S. Air Force security forces maintain a constant presence at the air base, with the U.S. Army military police supplementing manpower and helping augment security in the austere environment.

“We primarily provide security on and off base daily,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christian Gomez, 724th EABS SFF flight chief. “On top of that, we and the Army helped train the local military forces in their basic training, augmented personnel for the move from our old camp site to our current one and conduct counterinsurgency operations in the area.”

By working with the Army, both branches’ personnel gain joint operational experience.

“We may use some different terms when talking about our operations, but at the end of the day, we speak the same language,” said Army Sgt. Bobby Vanlandinham, 411th MP Company, 89th MP Brigade, 1st PLT team lead. “We’ve worked together to train the local military forces, keep the base safe and help out any way we can with the recent move from the old Flintlock camp site to the new base location.”

Security forces and military police cooperatively operate security checkpoints around the base, patrol inside the perimeter and provide secure escort for travel outside the wire.

“By making our presence known to the terrorist and human smugglers, we also help keep the locals safer from enemy forces and reduce the chance of extremists trying to recruit them,” said Gomez. “These guys will take advantage of the poor and destitute and try to turn them against us. It is crucial that we maintain a positive relationship with the villagers. If they trust us, then they could also act as an early warning system if outside threats start to move in.”

Operating in this remote environment also increases the safety of the local population by maintaining a presence at the Air Base.

“We’re always on the lookout for enemy threats, even though we’ve secured the area,” said Tech. Sgt. Blandon Calhoon, 724th EABS SFF flight chief. “We can’t afford to let our guard down, or we give nearby terrorist cells an opportunity to take advantage of a potential weakness. As long as we do our job, the bad guys can’t win.”